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Since the 4th of July is going to shorten our week, we are
 going to save our Class AAAAA week for the following week and wanted to do something fun. We will have a different top 10 each day, and today Craig Sager II gives us his top 10 season openers 
with an in-depth look at each matchup. 
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In This Issue
Season Openers
Top 10 Games (6-10)
Top 10 Games (1-5_
PlayOn! Sports
Score Poll
Best Stories From Around the State
What was the score of Grayson's beatdown of Miami Central,FL last season?    

Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!

Friday's Answer:
Calhoun gave Ridgeland its only regular season loss last year.





Norland, FL at Stephenson


Carrolton at Oxford, AL


Wilcox Co. at Wilkinson Co.


McEachern vs. Brookwood


Camden Co. vs. North Gwinnett


Calhoun at Ridgeland


Colquitt Co. vs. Grayson


Gainesville at West Forsyth


ELCA at Washington County


Washington, FL at Norcross





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Monday, July 1, 2013

By Craig Sager II
Rematches and out of state battles




10. Norland, FL at Stephenson (Aug. 23)


            I was not sure to put this game in the top ten, but considering it has taken two years in the making I had to. Last year these teams were all set to open the season in the National High School Gridiron Challenge at North Gwinnett, but Tropical Storm Issac came through the gulf and the game was cancelled. Event coordinators tried to pin Stephenson against teams from Tallahassee, but their efforts were not enough and the teams spent week one watching as the high school season kicked off.

In an interview with AJC's Todd Holcomb when the decision to cancel the game was still in the air, Stephenson head coach Ron Gartrell said 'It's very important to play if we can. We played our scrimmage early, so it would be three weeks if had to wait until next week. We're tired of beating up on ourselves. At this point, we'd line up against the Falcons if we had to."

         The Jaguars ended up bouncing back from the off week just fine winning their first five games of the season by a combined score of 176-31 and finishing the season 9-3. Norland went 8-3 in Florida's Class AAAAA last year. Stephenson is lead by playmaker Dallas Rivers who is committed to Vanderbilt. The Jaguars also have a pair of offensive guards Jordan Harris and Tyler Jones who are both committed to Mississippi State. Jared Tucker is a 5-foot-11 safety who is pledged to Kentucky and Montez Sweat is a 6-foot-6 tight end with offers from Buffalo, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida and Georgia State.



9. Carrollton at Oxford, AL (Aug. 30)


            Carrollton head coach Rayvan Teague loves challenging his players and their schedule will have plenty of obstacles along the way. With games against Calhoun and Sandy Creek on the season slate preparation and a quick start to the season will be key. They will play a talented Oxford team in the opening week that handed the Trojans a 21-17 loss in week one a season ago. They play Chapel Hill in week 2 and Calhoun in week 3 so this is a big test early in the season. In 2012 the 46-35 loss to Calhoun in the third week gave them a 1-2 start. I would expect the Trojans to be primed and ready for redemption in this out of state battle.


8. Wilcox County at Wilkinson County (Aug. 30)


            These two Class A teams circle this matchup when it comes their way. In 2009 Wilkinson County beat the Patriots 25-21 and got to have bragging rights for three years until they played last season. Wilcox County pulled off a 43-39 win and had a boost of confidence heading into the rest of the season. The Warriors went 8-4 in 2012, but all four losses were one possession games. The Warriors can wonder what might have been if they were able to pull out the close games. Wilkinson County head coach James Hagins has stressed finishing all offseason and his team looks ready heading into this season. Both teams are ranked in our Class A top 10. 



7. McEachern vs. Brookwood GEORGIA DOME (Aug. 24)


            Brookwood comes off an interesting season. They started with a 35-24 loss to Walton and witnessed perhaps Tyren Jones' best performace as he gashed the defense for 300 yards on more than 40 carries. The following week they upset Mill Creek and then edged Archer 20-19. In the opening round of the playoffs after upsetting No. 1 ranked and undefeated Lassiter 24-21 in overtime, they lost to Mill Creek in the rematch 56-21. Josh Brown returns in the Broncos backfield and will pace the offense again. Brookwood's defense was inconsistent last season and that is expected to change.

            Slowing down McEachern will be a challenge and they have one of the fastest offenses in the state. Junior Taj Griffin has offers from Georgia, Ohio State, Arkansas, Aubrun, and Clemson. All these offers came after his breakout sophomore campaign. Henry Famurewa is a 6-foot-2 235 pound defensive end that is committed to Louisville. Famurewa will be a player to watch and is poised for a big senior season.

These teams are both used to playing in the Corky Kell Classic every season, and they understand how big these games can be. A big win in the first game of the season can change everything and both the Indians and Broncos have the potential for a solid 2013 seasons.




6. Camden County vs. North Gwinnett GEORGIA DOME (Aug. 24)


            This game features Class AAAAAA powerhouses who will look to continue their winning traditions in 2012. Camden County will start a new era as Jeff Herron left for Class A Prince Avenue Christian after losing in the state semifinals to Norcross last season. Welton Coffey steps in as the new head man and will get face a challenge against North Gwinnett.

            North Gwinnett is one of the states'  winningness programs in recent years, and the Bulldogs have won 10 or more games seven straight seasons. Coach Bob Sphire will have his son Hayden starting at quarterback. The coach is used to losing his assistant coaches every season because of the success of his program, but this year is different.  Defensive Coordinator Mo Dixon was won of the best coaches in the state and he left to Byrnes in South Carolina for a similar position. On offense the Bulldogs have runningback CJ Leggett, who transferred in from Chattahoochee.





By Craig Sager II
Georgia vs. Florida matchup proves best




5. Calhoun at Ridgeland (Aug. 30)


Calhoun and
Ridgeland both ended their seasons in disappointing fashion. Calhoun a year after beating Buford for the championship once again lost a title game. Calhoun fell 31-14 to
Jefferson, and Ridgeland lost to

Sandy Creek

45-10 in the Class AAAA finals. In 2012 Calhoun beat Ridgeland 42-35 in the opener, which was its closest game of the season before the playoffs.             Ridgleand comes into the season without 5,000 yards of rushing offense.
Darrell Bridges and
Vonn Bell were the two headliners and also bulldozed and scampered their way to 61 touchdowns in 2012. Bridges who is at Presbyterian College rushed for nearly 2,400 yards and Vonn Bell accounted for over 1,100. Bell is at Ohio State this year. The 800 yards returning in the backfield come from

Noah Cooper

who will star in the Panthers running attack this upcoming season. 


"I think Noah is capable of having a big year numbers wise," said head coach

Mark Mariakis.

  "He's a hard runner and one of his biggest assets is his balance and vision. He's gonna be that guy everyone looks to because he is the only skill player we have returning this year." 


This game will be the ultimate measuring stick for two teams looking to bounce back from runner-up heartbreakers last year. 




4. Colquitt County vs. Grayson GEORGIA DOME (Aug. 24)


            I know this is the third game from the Corky Kell Classic in the top 10, but when it comes to opening week, these games rarely disappoint.
Grayson will enter the post-
Robert Nkemdiche era and will enter 2013 without a senior recruit listed in Georgia's top 150 players. Grayson's defense managed to allow just 10 points per game in a loaded schedule, and will face a seasoned
Colquitt County team that has the knack for showing up in big games. Packers head coach
Rush Propst was stunned last season in the Dome against
North Gwinnett 16-14 and lost in the playoffs 41-27 to


. If you do not think South Georgia teams get excited to play Gwinnett schools then think again. Grayson and Colquitt County should definitely be a slug fest. 


3. Gainesville at West Forsyth (Aug. 30)


            When it comes to defense, these two teams do not shine. Offensively however, they were the two most explosive teams in the state a year ago.
West Forsyth broke the 60 point mark three times and scored 56 another time. In the playoffs they beat
Collins Hill 66-41 in the opening round. In the second round


, who had one of the better defenses in the state beat them 26-23 in overtime.            The Wolverines opened up 2012 with a big win over
Gainesville 32-30 and will look to do the same this year. Gainesville is paced by Clemson commit

Deshaun Watson,

who quarterbacked the Red Elephants to the Class AAAAA State Championship in 2012.  Gainesville averaged 45.0 points per game last season and the senior quarterback has the weapons to match it in 2013. If you like shootouts then this is your game. 





2. ELCA at Washington County (Aug. 23)


ELCA played a near flawless 2012 with the exception of one game. The Chargers lost their season opener 24-19 to Class-AAA powerhouse
Washington County. Even with the loss, the Chargers averaged 44 points per game on the season offensively, and gave up only seven. With their defensive starters on the field they allowed only three points per contest. They beat

Prince Avenue Christian

33-0 in the Class-A state championsip. The only thing left for ELCA would be upsetting one of the better programs in the state. The running attack returns and so does the Chargers starting quarterback. 


ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess said, "The power run game is who we are and what we do. We have a great offensive line and running backs along with an outstanding fullback in Josh Shockley. Our offensive linemen are big and powerful guys and that's where the power run originates."


Dalton Etheridge started under center and operated one of the state's most prolific offenses a year ago. Etheridge has 6-foot-3, 200-pound Jamal Tookes headlining his exterior targets.


Notre Dame signee Isaac Rochell starred as two-way weapon at defensive end and tight end in 2012, but will have one of the most talented prospects in the state replacing him. Andrew Williams stands 6-foot-4, 231 pounds and is listed by 247sports as a top 20 recruit in the state. It will be Williams time to shine this year.


Washington County was knocked out of the 2012 playoffs by Clas AAA state runner up St. Pius X 40-35. The 40 points were the most they allowed all season, and it was a disappointing finish for head coach Joel Ingram. Coming into 2013 the Golden Hawks appear as serious contenders and will face an experienced Chargers offense.


1. Washington, FL at Norcross (Aug. 24)


Norcross finished 2012 with a Class AAAAAA Championship and a 15-0 record. Out of the 22 starters they return 16 of them. One of the key players lost was quarterback
Joseph Wilber (West Georgia), but they replaced him with
Milton transfer
AJ Bush. On defense is
Lorenzo Carter who will likely be the sure top recruit in the country this season.

Miles Autry

returns as the Blue Devils explosive playmaker, and their offense looks ready in 2013. Norcross won its first two 7 on 7 tournaments this summer, and their defense looks to be one of the fastest in the state.  


When they have the pads bucked up we will see that their speed and ball skills is matched with their strength and power. They are a preseason No. 3 team in the nation and this game will be on ESPN. In 2012 it was
Miami Central, FL coming to


that was the big Georgia vs. Florida matchup. Miami Central is one of the best schools in the state of Florida. The physicality of a Gwinnett County football team was no match for Florida's spread and speed attack and Grayson embarrassed them 35-3.           


Washington, FL no doubt will know they are going up against Goliath, but they have a loaded roster of returning talent ready. They won their state championship last year 35-7 over
Bolles, FL and are in the top 25 in the nation heading into 2013.
Nigel Bethel is a cornerback with offers from Miami, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas Tech.
Treon Harris is a dual threat quarterback who holds offers from FSU, Arizona, Boston College, Clemson and FIU. Harris will be a three-year starter this season.

Lamar Parker

is a blazing fast wideout with offers from West Virginia, Boston College, Cincinnati, FIU and Florida State. 


The matchup with these teams will be Norcross' defense and size versus a Florida powerhouse. Norcross' three wideouts over 6-foot-4 will face a solid secondary. 




By Score Atlanta

PlayOn! announces expanded coverage



NFHS, PlayOn! Sports Announce Plans for High School Sports Network

Joint Venture Would Create Central Destination, Expanded Coverage of High School Sports


DENVER (June 25, 2013) - The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and PlayOn! Sports (PlayOn) plan to create and launch the NFHS Network, an all-digital network devoted to coverage of high school athletic content through the Federation's state association members. The NFHS Network, with an anticipated start date at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year and featuring comprehensive coverage of boys and girls sports and activities from across the country, will be a subscription-based digital service available at


Each of the 51 NFHS state association members has the opportunity to join the NFHS Network to showcase its high schools, student athletes and tournaments.  While states will continue to maintain local media relationships, the NFHS Network will become the largest aggregated destination for coverage of high school sports in the country, thus creating increased viewing opportunities for students, parents and fans - wherever they may be in the world. 


"With 19,000 high schools in the United States and nearly two million events held annually across the country, we are very excited about this enormous opportunity," said Bob Gardner, executive director of the NFHS.  "Once launched, the network will help the Federation showcase its primary mission of expanding participation and opportunities for involvement in education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities.  We are excited to provide viewership opportunities for fans of high school athletics all over the country."


The new NFHS Network will build on the existing success of the PlayOn digital platform and high-quality coverage of high school sports. PlayOn currently streams nearly 30,000 events per school year on its national digital portal in addition to producing and distributing television coverage of select championship events. PlayOn works with 32 state associations and sections in 26 states, as well as more than 600 high schools across the country that have adopted PlayOn's technology platform to self-produce their school's sports and activities.


"Teaming up with the NFHS is a natural progression to build a truly national high school sports platform while honoring the local communities that support them," said David Rudolph, PlayOn! Sports chief executive officer. "Our mission is to serve the current and future generations of student-athletes, support and encourage their participation and make their performances accessible to their friends, family and fans on every media platform they use."


Nearly 50 million Americans identify themselves as high school sports fans and high school events have three times the attendance of college and professional sporting events combined. Couple this passionate fan base with the usage of smartphones and other connected devices and the NFHS Network will become a consolidated high school destination for schools, student-athletes, families, fans, alumni and advertisers.


"We are building a network for the next 40 years," Rudolph continued. "The NFHS Network is being designed for the next generation of consumers who are driving the consumption of content in a multi-screen environment. These digital natives will set the stage for the success of the NFHS Network."


The NFHS Network is a joint venture between the NFHS and PlayOn! Sports and will be governed and overseen by a combination of NFHS and PlayOn executives.  Both Gardner and Rudolph worked with numerous state association executive directors for more than seven months to develop the concept and agreement.  The NFHS Network is structured to provide all state associations with the opportunity to participate, providing a framework for a true national footprint for high school sports.


"Ultimately, we want to make the NFHS Network the most treasured and trusted source for high school athletics," Gardner said.


NFHS Network: We are High School.



About PlayOn! Sports

PlayOn! Sports is the largest rights holder, producer, and aggregator of high school sports events distributed across television, the Internet, and IP-video enabled mobile devices. By combining State Athletic Associations' postseason content with the regular season events of member schools, PlayOn streams more than 30,000 high school sporting events a year, providing marketers with a unique multi-media platform solution to reach teens, young adults and families. PlayOn is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., with offices in the Southeast, Midwest and California. View the PlayOn! Sports Network at and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @playonsports.



About the National Federation of State  

High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.6 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at





Kell's Kendell Williams named National Track and Field Athlete of the Year

Brookwood grad Johnson named to team U.S.

Duo of first year quarterbacks share similar expectations in Class AAAAAA

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